What happened to the way we used to do it? 112



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As I scroll through my Facebook news feed, various things pop up at me: the odd news story, statuses and photos. I’m not opposed to photos being posted, in fact I love knowing what my friends and family are up to. But it was one marriage proposal I saw on my page that got me thinking about what used to happen when we had a special event and wanted someone to know about it.

When I became engaged to my late husband, we put a notice in the newspaper and sent letters or a telegram to our family members. That’s just how it was done back then but now I see my niece posting a picture of her engagement all over Facebook, ring and all.

Now, I love my niece dearly and wish her all the best, and this is a good example (there are plenty that are much, much worse and clearly attention seeking), but I can’t help but think back to a time where we didn’t have to show off our every move to the world. My grandchildren ‘check in’ to everywhere they go, as if their friends are really taking notice that they’re at yet another bar or at the beach. It’s all about image and how much you can brag. Everyone likes to celebrate their achievements and yes, times are changing, but is it really that important to show off to your mates and compare notes? “I did this”, “Yeah, well, I did this!”

When I sent my engagement notice off to the paper, like many of you out there, I had a number of congratulations but I didn’t feel greedy about how many I received. I didn’t go bigger and better in my announcement to boast to my friends. I thoroughly enjoyed my wedding because the people who mattered most to me were there and, to liken it to the modern day, there weren’t people looking over the fence, trying to sticky beak into my private life. Our generation were never ‘me, me, me’, we were happy to enjoy the moment without thinking about who we needed to impress, subconsciously or not.

Sure, it’s great to take photos and make statuses and tell people you’re engaged, but sometimes I wish it felt more personal and special than it does now. Any Joe Blow and Jane Doe can put a picture up of their new ring, dog or car, but it’s those who go on their humble way without making a fuss that I truly admire. You don’t need Facebook or Twitter to tell your life story, just live it, I say…


Do you agree with this writer? Do you think people brag too much on Facebook? Or do you think that achievements and life events should be celebrated on social media? Tell us below.

Guest Contributor

  1. I’m with you all the way on this one. Get to see most of my family every 3 or 4 years (they are still up in God’s country – NT & Kununurra- and I’m in Qld) – there are 10 grandkids and f/book is how I mostly catch up with what or where they are and how their cousins keep in touch too – but….!! 😀

  2. It is personal choice what someone posts on facebook & who to but I do agree with you that not every move needs to be posted. I thought it was very sad that at our daughters wedding the guests were asked NOT to post photos on facebook – if they wished they would post their own . It seems no one has any privacy anymore.

  3. Just re-reading that post it could be misunderstood. It is sad that there was a need to ask guests not to post photos.

  4. Sorry, but I don’t think it is showing off to the generation who use social media today. It is just their way of announcing things, just like we used newsonly paper notices and telegrams. If their FB is set to “friends only” then that is who sees it. After all, you had no control over who read your engagement notice incthe paper, and there were many who devoured thev”hatched, matched and dispatched” with fervour, regardless of whether they knew anyone or not. I dont think that checking in at locations is a game ifv”look where I am and what I am doing”, it is just a new way of communicating. Let’s not be stuck in the past thinking everything was better our way.

    6 REPLY
    • I agree Noni. My engagement was in the paper but that was the “social media” of the day. I’ll take an even bet that many of the engagement notices in the paper today are there because the parents want them rather than the couple. My FB is set to Friends Only and it’s great to be able to share what I’m doing etc etc. I now keep in touch with non-FB friends by email. Electronic communication is here to stay I reckon.

    • I am with you ladies, I love seeing all the various celebrations, and moments in people’s lives and you also get to share yours, it is not boasting, competition was always out there before social media for those who could not help themselves, bigger weddings, rings, baby showers what ever, but everyone still shared. I love FB as I get some new ideas, new places to visit, information of where to get the best this or that, some people need to get a grip, and go with the flow, the paper was the social media of my day too, and yes there were big and small adds but everyone could read it, it was after all the age or sun, same as FB, but at least with FB you could just have settings for friends and family only. And maybe people are not boasting or competing maybe they are just happy and proud to share.

    • Totally agree Noni. I also find fb an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family, particularly those that live many hours away or overseas. I now don’t miss out on as much of their daily lives as before just because of the tyranny of distance. My fb is set to “friends only” so I’m not broadcasting to the world … apart from Starts At Sixty of course, but even then I am talking to a community I have joined.

    • I also agree. It is the way of the modern word, and if you dont like it, then dont use it. We all have a choice about what we participate in, and everything has its drawbacks, facebook included.

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      • Glad to see others who think the same as me about Facebook. It’s more efficient and time-saving for those who live in remote communities in Australia. It also saves trees from unnecessary extra paper production and petrol for air and road mailing costs of all those wedding invitations and more. I’m unable to travel far due to health reasons. When I see postings and photos it keeps me in touch with people I can’t see very often. The article heading asks “What happened to the way we used to do it?” Answer: Mark Zuckerberg created another way that suits millions of people just fine if they exercise the right privacy settings.

    • I agree with all the comments above. When you think about it, a newspaper is seen by thousands more people than a ‘friends only’ FB page. It’s just the modern way to tell family and friends.

    • I love reading and seeing my family on FB,
      At least when we get old we are in touch
      With our grand children and great grandchildren,
      Being able to send birthday greetings,
      I think FB is wonderful, Thelma

  5. Agree, far too much info out there and it is there forever. We have all heard the horror stories of prospective and current employers checking out face book pages, for some work places it is standard procedure during pre-employment checks. I always keep in mind – “better to be the observer than the observed”.

    2 REPLY
    • If you set your FB settings to Friends only, or stricter still, family only, then there is no way employers can look at your page. The story that they can is an urban myth.

    • Unfortunately Noni most young people do not set their Facebook pages as you suggest and due to this they leave themselves wide open to scrutiny from all and sundry.

  6. I think ‘times change’ and this is the way things are done these days. That’s not saying I agree with it but I don’t have any control over it. I feel ‘hurt’ when my daughter posts ‘news’ to the Facebook world when I think she could have let family, well me, know first. However I just have to get over it.

    1 REPLY
    • Times do change Kerrie, but it’s sad your daughter doesn’t let you know first. Perhaps she doesn’t realise you feel hurt by not being told personally before special news is broadcast over fb. My family all talk first about anything particularly big or important before we fb it for other friends to see.

  7. We may have our fb set to friends only. Others may not. I was reminded of it by a relitive for something I posted.

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    • Yes Robyn, it’s always wise to keep that in mind and think about what you put out to the world. There is still email, phone calls or even letters for items that you would really not want the rest of the world to see.

  8. My boss can’t check my FB page as I have it to friends only, but if she did manage to get onto my page she would not find anything about work on it as I don’t talk about work at all on FB, weather you disagree or agree it’s up to me what I put up on my FB page, you don’t have to read it. People used to send post cards when going on holiday now they post pictures for everyone to see on FB

  9. Sorry all but I love face book, just returned from an amazing holiday in Europe and posted lots of photos and checked in wherever we were. That’s how my kids and grandkids know what Mum/Nan is doing. My facebook page is friends only. I just love all about this technology.

  10. It may be that people are posting stuff on Facebook to boast but for me it’s a marvelous way of keeping up with friends and family. I get to see so many great photos of my grand children who travel a lot. If not for Facebook I would never see these! It’s also good to get news of my friends and their kids and grand kids. All of my Facebook friends are people I know; I don’t accept requests from anyone I don’t know and I’ve been able to catch up with some old friends I had lost touch with. That’s been good. We’re all able to share funny things and bits of life philosophy.
    If there’s anything I might whinge about, it would be the political stuff that pops up constantly but it’s not hard to just scroll past that.
    Hurrah for Facebook, I say and let’s keep this over 60s site rattling!

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with you Jill and have found fb to be a marvelous way of keeping in touch with friends and family and to reconnect with old friends I had lost touch with due to distance. I know quite a few people of our era who do not like fb, but they’re not forced to use it if they don’t want.

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